The Toronto Six have entered the NWHL bubble with an intriguing task — being the new team in the league, and the underdogs. Oh, and they want to win the Isobel Cup.
We are two games in and the Six have yet to win a game in Lake Placid. Both have been eventful for the hockey club who’ve outshot their opponents 77-44 this season. Obviously they’d like to have won those games, but the Six have found positives from both games too.
“We’re learning.” Said President and Head Coach, Digit Murphy. “We’re a learning team and I’m still proud of these guys, how they competed, how they played and we’re coming. We’re coming.”
It stung the Six when they were shutout in game one against the Metropolitan Riveters. After that performance, you could recognize that once there was one goal, there’d be a lot more. Going into game two, the team and its fans were itching for a goal, and they got it — plus four more.
Lindsay Eastwood scored the first goal in Toronto Six franchise history, and when it happened — everything changed.
GRAB THAT PUCK 🗣️🗣️🗣️
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) January 24, 2021
“When I popped the puck in the net in the first period of our game versus the Minnesota Whitecaps on Sunday, I wasn’t thinking about franchise history.” Said Eastwood in her article with Sportsnet. “I was thinking about how we had grabbed the lead. It wasn’t until I went on social media after the game that I realized how special the goal was. My name is now the answer to a Canadian sports trivia question: Who scored the first-ever goal for the Toronto Six?”
These two losses are important in showing how the team is growing in their inaugural season. In their first game, against the Riveters, they faced a hot goalie. The second game, against the Minnesota Whitecaps, consisted of an early lead, which they lost later in the game.
You’re not going to have the best outcomes early in your tenure as a hockey club, but it’s the little things you take away — and there are a lot. Like I said earlier, the shots on net are a very positive sign early in the season, but also the team’s ability to draw penalties.
“What ended up happening, which was awesome was as that middle-lane drive was happening with our forwards just having high energy, Minnesota was like ‘holy crap’ and they had to haul us down, so we got a lot of power plays out of it.” Said Murphy after the game against the Whitecaps.
The Six drew 10 penalties in their second game and three in their first, only to score on two opportunities. But that’s part of being a new team and finding that rhythm is going to take some time, which the Six aren’t worried about.
“We’re choosing to take this as a lesson, as a young team, in a game that’s in a qualifier round in a short-term competition,” said Murphy of the loss to the Whitecaps, “we’re happy it happened now and not later on.”
It was echoed by the players, their head coach, and even the fans. The outpour of love that the Six have gotten so far has been incredible and the players have taken note of it. During their inaugural game, there were over 8000 people in the Twitch stream watching the game and 40,000 overall (with watching replays). And in game two, they eclipsed 5000 viewers live and 32,000 watching replays.
“I coach a bunch of young girls back home, and the messages and the social media posts that they’ve had — my ego is a little big right now.” Said Breanne Wilson-Bennett of the support she’s gotten so far. “They’re super supportive and to see that our play is reaching the next generation is awesome, that’s our goal. We’re not doing this so much for us, as for the next generation of girls out there, so to know that it’s spreading far and wide is so nice to hear.”
But their toughest matchup is ahead of them because tonight they play the Boston Pride, who are the defending champions of the Isobel Cup. If the Six play like they have in the past two games, plus clean up a few things, this will be a big game for them — win or lose.
The biggest goal for Toronto though is to win the Isobel Cup in their inaugural season. That’s what they saw of themselves going into the season, and that’s what Emma Greco is saying two games in.
“It means so much just to know that we have all these fans back home and just let them know that we’re going to do our very best to bring home the Isobel Cup.”